So today was day 2 with David and son Kyle. They had a ball yesterday but today wanted to see some bigger bass. The bunker are pretty much gone now as are the porgy so I came armed with eels. Usually this time of year, the eel bite diring the day picks up considerably. Again, we only had 4 hours and we had a slack tide to start our search. The first spot was barren. We had a nonexistent drift and didn’t mark a single fish so after a few drifts, we moved on to another reef 4 miles away.
Things were much different there… We had a decent drift and could see fish on the Humminbird as soon as we pulled up. The very fist drift produced a double of nice bass. David had a heck of a fish that measured 42″. Both were ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the next drift. We had either hits or hook ups on just about every drift for the duration of the trip. David and Kyle had been staying at the Griswold Inn in Essex during their trip and were looking forward to having striper for dinner. We kept one for the table and I filleted it for them to take back to the kitchen at the Inn. David sent me a cell phone picture of their dish and said that it was easily the best fish they had ever eaten. It sure looked to me!
Today I had the father and son team of David and Kyle. They were here from Missouri to look at area schools. Kyle is a fishing nut so they looked me up in hopes of catching their first stripers and blues ever. We got lucky with the weather, it had been blowing hard for well over a week. I wasn’t sure what to expect for action as it had just been too rough to fish much prior to our outing. We had 4 hours to find them some fish. They were hoping for some top water action so we hit a few inshore rock piles and managed a few hits but no hookups. I decided to head out a bit deeper and look for birds out over some local reefs. That did the trick… There were birds everywhere a couple miles out. We threw Badonk-A-Donks and Chuggin’ Spooks and had a field day with small bass and blues. The guys were constantly hooked up and we spent the entire afternoon there. Their arms eventually begged for mercy and we headed in. Along the way, we were treated to a fantastic sunset and a hell of a striper and hickory shad blitz in the mouth of the river. The guys had a blast but have decided that tomorrow they’d like to step it up and try their hand at BIG fish on live bait. Hopefully the fish are still deep… We’ll see!
I was scheduled to have a charter today but with the high winds forecast, I cancelled. It was goiung to be way too rough on the reefs. I decided to head down with Alan just to look around and try some different areas. We launched at 7 in a thick fog. It was 29 degrees and there was ice on the deck of the boat. The cold made throwing a cast net miserable, but we found the bunker quickly and in just a couple of tosses, we had enough bunker for the morning. We stayed right in the river and fished tight to shore to stay out of the worst of the wind. That proved to be the right choice because when the wind picked up, it really began to blow. We were into fish all morning and had some fantastic fish for this late in the season. Our biggest of the day was just under 40 pounds… Hopefully, the bunker stays a bit longer because this was way too much fun!
I had an invite to fish with Pat and Frank for some tog today. It has been way too long since I fished for them so I jumped at the chance. The fish were shallow and instead of using 3 way rigs, we cast crabs on jigs into the rocks and worked them back to the boat. We had lots of hits but it was a challenge to hook them. Things were decent early but slowed halfway through the tide. We ended up a little shy of our limit but what we lacked in quantity, we made up for in quality. What a blast, I can’t wait to do it again…
For the last few days, I’ve been on the water as part of a 7 man team doing a photo shoot for the 2014 Cabela’s Salt Water Catalog. Cabelas flew in a professional model, a photographer and assistant. We also had a few employees along for the shoot. The focus was mainly on the new clothing but we did some running shots of the boats, cast netting bait, casting plugs, etc… Literally thousands of photos were taken. It was a ton of work but we had a blast. The wind was cranking hard every day which severely limited where we could fish but I had done some scouting in preparation and it paid off… In spades! We launched out of the CT River each day and loaded up on bunker before heading out to some of the inshore rock piles. The bunker produced plenty of fish but we also scored well on big Creek Chub Pin Poppers. The photographer worked his ass off, getting in the water with the fish to get some unique shots.. I hope to have some to share here soon. In the meantime, here are a couple I took
Andrew and I headed out this morning to try something different. We fished nothing but top water all day, starting in the dark and finishing after 1 PM. While the bite was best in the first hour after sunrise, we caught stripers all day long. Most of our hits came within a few yards of the rocky shoreline. We caught on the Bomber Badonk-A-Donk as well as Super Spooks. We fished from Waterford, all along the south side of Fishers Island and back again and ended up with over 2 dozen bass in the boat. It was a nice change of pace. Here are a few pictures from the trip:
I kept a low profile today by fishing in Alan’s boat. Leaving from New London, we fished the usual haunts. Surprisingly, the boat traffic wasn’t too bad. We struggled at first to find bait but eventually scraped enough together to get started. The tides were still cranking from the full moon a few days earlier but we knew if we stuck it out long enough, the bass would turn on as the tide slowed a bit. Sure enough, as our drifts got under 2 MPH, we started getting hits. It was a short window and we made the most of it by putting a half dozen quality bass in the boat.
Stroby and I had a hell of a morning… The albies have been playing hide and seek so we decided to concentrate on stripers instead. I have been doing well tight to shore in a boulder field by throwing top water around sunrise, so we made a bee line there to start the day. The lures of choice has been the Creek Chub 6 Pin Popper and Cotton Cordell Pencils… Stroby hooked up on the very first cast of the morning with a hefty bass. We were in only 10 feet of water in some scary rocks. I was praying that we got the fish to the boat. After a little maneuvering with the trolling motor, we steered the fish into safer waters and she was ours.
We had a couple of other blow ups but did not hook any more fish there so we headed off to deeper water to do some 3-waying with scup. It took nearly a half an hour to get the bait we needed and it was a short run to the reef. On my very first drop, my scup went ballistic, taking evasive action to keep from being eaten… That didn’t last long. I had a solid thump and then a steady pull of line. Fish on… There was a long first run and when the fish turned, I could feel some large head shakes and knew we had a good one on. Not a bad way to start the day!
We had a few more fish on the morning, they were all studs. It’s nice to finally see so many quality fish in our area again. Hopefully the pattern holds for awhile. As much fun as it was, the full moon tides made it tough to present a bait effectively. Our drifts were over 3 no matter where we went. We ended the day by taking a break from 3-waying and instead threw small top waters to surface feeding schoolies and blues. That was fun, but I’d prefer to chase albies!
Whit Jr and Sr were aboard this morning. We had originally booked the trip for albies but they are still a no show. They were fine with switching gears and fishing for bass with bait. It was going to be a short trip, as they had their gear packed and were headed to Martha’s Vineyard right after leaving me. We got our bait in short order and headed to my favorite rock pile and got to work. The technique was new to them both, but they picked it up after dropping a big fish that made a long steady run of drag, they started putting fish in the boat. Most of our fish were coming from 35-45 feet of water and the bass were holding tight to the bottom. The blues were around but not too much trouble, beneath the blues were some decent bass cleaning up the scraps. The 5 hours flew by and got them back in time to make the ferry to the Vineyard.
I’ve had PRADCO Fishing in town this week to film some segments for their website with some new lures. Yesterday we ran well over 130 miles looking for any kind of surface bite. last week, there were fish everywhere, on Monday… Not so much. Today we greeted at the ramp with a stiff wind out of the SW. There really is nowhere to hide when it blows like that so we stayed local. A couple of weeks ago, I had found some very large bluefish on a shallow water reef. Since we were out of options, I decided to take a look. Boy, I’m glad we did! There were a bunch of fish there. We fished in 3 and 4 foot breaking rollers but the Minn Kota held us out of the rocks. We fished in 8 feet of water and had a ball. Mid 30″ bass were knocking the Pin Poppers right out of the water. One one of my casts, the popper got smashed. During the fight, there was an unusual amount of commotion behind the hooked fish… There were 3 stripers following the blue, trying to grab the popper out of the blues mouth. Sure enough, one of them grabbed it… Now I had 2 fish on!
From hit to boat, we got the whole thing on video. I can’t wait to see what the finished product looks like! We continued to beat up on big blues and bass for the next couple of hours but the bite eventually slowed. The guys were thrilled with the video we got so we headed back to the dock early. We have one more day to fish, we hope to find some bigger fish tomorrow!